- Quantum Leap - S3E5 - "The Boogieman - October 31, 1964" - First and foremost, the opening of quantum leap, where a disembodied female voice explains Dr. Sam Beckett's predicament, is surprisingly effective and really generates empathy. I probably haven't seen an episode of Quantum Leap in 25 years, but I was immediately back in the swing of things. It helps that this is probably the best of the Halloween episodes (though another one stuck out in my mind for reasons that will be discussed below). So Sam leaps into Joshua Rey, a horror novelist referred to as a second-rate H.P. Lovecraft (so... Brian Lumly? Zing!). He is, of course, dressed in a ridiculous getup and his house seems abnormally... Gothic.
- Quantum Leap - S5E15 - "Blood Moon - March 10, 1975" - So this episode is one of the reasons I actually wanted to go through this whole rigamarole and watch these 80s shows. I have a very distinct memory of the stinger in this episode where the rational protagonist is suddenly confronted with something unexplainable. For some reason, I had attributed this in my head to MacGyver (more on him below), but it turns out that this Quantum Leap episode was what I was thinking of... Sam leaps into Nigel Corrington, who lives in an English castle and sleeps in a coffin and is thus, obviously, a vampire (Al is convinced, Sam is of course not). Indeed, it appears to be the night of The Blood Moon, a night that commemorates one of the earliest vampires, and Nigel is entertaining two visitors intent on observing the vampiric tradition of murdering Nigel's freshly minted, commoner wife. Nice gothic atmosphere and an entertaining tale, also worth checking out. And that stinger is great fun!
- Quantum Leap - S4E16 - "Ghost Ship - August 13, 1956" - Alright, so this one apparently isn't an actual Halloween episode, but come on, Sam flies into the Bermuda Triangle in this one, and is there anything more 80s spooky than that? Of course the instruments go all haywire and Al has trouble maintaining contact with Ziggy (and, for that matter, Sam) and of course one of the passengers on the plan has her appendix burst, so it's vitally urgent that they find their way to nearby Bermuda (and it's hospital) rather than turning around and making the long trip back to the mainland. Again, nothing particularly Haloweeny about the episode, but it's got the main formula in place, with plenty of spooky things happening and, of course, a neat little stinger that seemingly confirms the Burmuda Triangle's bona fides. Another fun episode that is totally worth checking out.
- MacGyver - S4E1 - The Secret of Parker House - This doesn't explicitly take place on Halloween or anything, but it concerns a haunted house (and was aired on Halloween), so that seems like enough. So Mac is inexplicably friends with the rather daffy Penny Parker (played by Teri Hatcher), who has just inherited her aunt's old mansion. It is, of course, rumored to be haunted. Some mysterious happenings, a convenient lightning strike, and a strange facial reconstruction later, and we find that it's not quite haunted. It turns out that the house was built in prohibition days and had a hidden distillery, and a simpleton groundskeeper was hiding in there (and thus causing some mischief). It's a decent little episode, and of course it turns out to be completely rational. Or does it! This doesn't hold up as well as the Quantum Leap episodes, but it was a decent enough watch.
- Cheers - S3E4 - "Fairy Tales Can Come True" - It's Halloween at Cheers, and the no-name regulars are giving Cliff a hard time because they never see him making the moves on women. But when he's in costume as Ponce De Leon, he doesn't seem to be as tongue tied or nervous as when he's himself, and thus meets the woman of his dreams. Or something, as I don't think she shows up again, but this is a nice enough episode, worth it for the costumes (but then, not really spooky either).
- Cheers - S4E5 - "Diane's Nightmare" - Diane dreams that "Andy Andy" has escaped from a mental institution and is coming to kill her (is he a guy from a previous episode? I don't remember that, but it's easy enough to follow.) Then she wakes up, and has to face "Andy Andy" again. It's a neat little episode, not quite spooky but certainly on the spectrum and enough to make it a nice Halloween experience. These sitcom episodes don't really follow the formula, but this one has a funny stinger at the end (albeit, not a supernatural one).
- Cheers - S5E5 - "House of Horrors with Formal Dining and Used " - Carla finds a great house in her price range. The only catch is that it's built on top of a 17th century prison graveyard and the dead prisoners have vowed on their revenge. Being ever superstitious, Carla decides that if she can spend the night there without incident, all will be well, and Cliff helps out. A funny take on the tired premise, it works well enough for sure. No real reference to Halloween, but enough hints of murderous ghosts that it seems worthwhile.
- Cheers - S10E7 - "Bar Wars V: The Final Judgement" - Another in a long line of prank episodes between the folks at Cheers and rival, Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. This one involve's Gary's death and Sam's refusal to believe it isn't a prank, which it isn't. Or is it? All the prank episodes are fun, and while this one takes place on Halloween, it only involves a couple of seasonal-related gags (albeit, pretty good ones). Good times, as usual with Cheers...
6WH: Week 4.5 - 80s Halloween TV Episodes
One of the dorky things I've been doing lately to ring in the season around my favorite holidays is to check out holiday-themed episodes of various TV shows. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided to check out the Halloween episodes for a bunch of 80s shows. It turns out that I'm not the first dope to have this idea, but since I've already watched the shows, I figured I'd give my readers the skinny on a few of these shows (and there's not total overlap, so there is that). It being the 80s, there are lots of recurring motifs and tropes that seem to have disappeared. Notably, many of these shows seem to feature a rational protagonist refusing to believe the seemingly supernatural happenings of the day and being vindicated right before having their legs cut out from under them by a piece of unexplained evidence. Most of the episodes follow this formula, and the ones that don't tend to fall a bit flat. Anywho, enough preamble, let's hop to it: